The Real Housewives of New Jersey
I swear to whatever god made Jane Fonda’s face wrinkle free in 2023 that someone at Bravo knows about the infamous Eileen Davidson Accord. For those new to the Real Housewives Institute, it is a bylaw that says we don’t judge the new women until after their fifth episode has aired to give them a bit of a grace period. Well, the EDA is officially over, and Bravo treated us to an episode that started with some deep dives into Rachel and Danielle, the two new girls, and a party at the house of Jenf Fessler, who could technically be judged before the EDA since she is not full time but hasn’t really made a dent so far.
As far as my verdict goes, I am very into both of them. Know why? Because they seem fun. That’s what this show has been missing for a while, someone willing to be extra on Instagram and then laugh about it with all her friends. I can’t explain it, but I find Danielle’s extra-ness somehow comforting. Like, yes, she may be trying too hard and being really thirsty because she just wants everyone to have a good time and get along. I love this for her, just like I loved the last episode, when she stood up for herself against Jackie. Danielle seems like the perfect Jersey and Jersey girl. She is the kind of woman who can fight but prefers not to.
Danielle is the kind of woman who would name her daughter Valentine Loren like she already wants her daughter to be a starlet or in the top .00001 percent of OnlyFans, either one. At least at one point she tells Valentina she can’t have two boyfriends because she’s only 5. Then her son, Dominic, says, “They’re way out of your league anyway.” I mean I love these insane, precocious children, and I will babysit for free anytime they need me (and I happen to be in New Jersey).
Not only did Danielle throw a million-dollar party for her daughter’s 5th birthday, but she also choreographed her daughter’s entrance to the party. I would find this so cringey on almost every other Housewives show in the known universe, but Danielle is so excited that I can’t even fault her for it. Her enthusiasm is infectious.
As for Rachel, well, I am sort of in love with the entire Fuda clan — except for her husband, who should be jailed for the crimes he has committed against the American mustache. But even then, we hear about John and his son Jayden and how he had to raise him since his mother wasn’t around. I just want to cry and hug them and secretly knick all the razors from their house so he can knock it off.
Rachel has her extended family all over to her house on the Jersey shore, which looks so isolated and desolate it’s like it’s the first structure built on a landfill. Her Jewish mother and Italian father are there, but so is her grandmother, Anna, who would cut every one of the other women on this show to shreds and I think we could build a whole The Real Housewives of Shady Pines Retirement Home around her. She also invites her brother, Eric, to the house. I cannot prove this, but I think Johnny, Alexia, and Marysol’s gay from RHOM and Eric are the exact same person. I feel like he has a wife and children in New Jersey and then he goes and lives a secret gay life in Miami. The one constant? Housewives everywhere.
The only big red flag I get from either of these two is about Danielle and her relationship with her brother. Also what is up with these women and their siblings? Teresa and Joe aren’t talking, Jackie and her sister (as far as I know) aren’t speaking, Danielle and the brother are at odds, and, to get back into the time machine, I bet that Dina and Caroline Manzo haven’t exchanged Christmas cards in a decade. What is going on with those weird twins from that one season? Think they still talk to each other? Anyway, what I’m saying is there has to be more to the story than just that Danielle blocked him on Insta and he disinvited her from the wedding. I need his wife on the next season, and we can unpack the petty drama for, say, the next ten years or so. Yes, let’s do that.
As for Jenf, I sort of love her like I love Theodore from The Chipmunks. If Alvin was the cool one and Simon was the smart one, then Theodore was the, shall we say, foodie. As someone who also eats exuberantly, I like Jenf being around, and her only trait is she loves to stuff her gob with whatever is in front of her. Mozzarella at a Mozzarella Party? Jenf is all over it. She has people over; what’s she going to serve? Fried chicken and biscuits. This is my kind of gal.
However, I don’t think Jenf is of this world, as I like to say. She makes the rookiest of mistakes when inviting everyone over. “All the parties have been filled with venom,” she says. She’s going to throw a nicer party. No one is going to yell, and they’re going to get along and have fun and eat chicken and waffles and braid each other’s hair and talk about American Idol. Does she know what show she signed up for? That is not how we roll here. That’s sort of like showing up at SoulCycle and being like, “You are all cycling to nowhere way too hard and way too fast. Why don’t you just slow down and eat this enormous fucking turkey leg I brought from Medieval Times.”
Now that we’re onto Jenf’s party, I guess we need to talk about Margaret and Jennifer, who both go completely ballistic. I’m sorry, but I’m calling this one for Jen. The substance of the fight doesn’t really matter; these two just hate each other. I mean, that’s it. Sure, Jen might still be mad about Marge bringing up Bill’s cheating last season, but as the montage showed up, these two have been squabbling since around the time of the Louisiana Purchase.
Yeah, Marge loses it, and they go below the belt really fast, as they both always do. Now, Marge kicks it off by calling Jen a “fucking idiot,” but I have to say, I give this round of insults to Marge. When Jen says, “I have a family, which is something you wouldn’t know what it’s like.” This is an especially low blow for Marge because Jen knows that not everyone in her family still talks to her because of how her first marriage ended.
Well, as the kids say, Jen fucked around and found out, because Marge comes back with, “Let me tell you what I fucking have. A good marriage, you stupid fucking bitch!” Okay, I don’t think we needed the name-calling at the end, but that is a hell of a zinger. Marge also follows that up by calling Jen a “disheveled little drug addict,” which is perfect. Print it up. Put it on T-shirts, put it on mugs, put it on pot holders, put it on tote bags. I’ll buy them all. Jen gets Marge back later by saying she looks like “Kojak in a wig,” which made me laugh out loud, but it was clearly scripted on Jen’s drive home, where she went over the fight a million times in her mind.
The women are horrified by the behavior, and I know I’m making light of this, but if I were there, I would have also been horrified. Jenf finally stands up and tries to get it to stop by throwing out Jen, and Teresa leaves along with her. This group doesn’t need another woman with a business; what they need is a third-grade teacher. They need someone who can take control of a group of shouting, spoiled idiots and make them learn something. Can we get one of the third-grade teachers from Franklin Lakes Elementary for the next season?
(Don’t say I ever said this, but I actually laughed when Jenf told them to stop yelling because she’s not like Teresa; she has neighbors. Teresa replies, “I’m on six acres. How many are you on?” Wait, didn’t the women just discuss how bragging and just stating facts are two separate things?)
The next time we see any of the women together, it’s at Valentina’s birthday party. Danielle only invited one “side,” so it’s her, Rachel, Jennifer, and Teresa. The party looks fun and insane, and I want to roll my eyes at it, but all of these little kids are just losing their shit over Barbie and getting pink extensions in their hair and having their own little glam squads. Wait, is this like Housewife camp? Is this some kind of indoctrination?
But the end of the episode is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. It is basically Teresa and Jennifer giving them both the hard sell on why they should join their “side.” Marge is awful, don’t trust her. Dolores and Jennifer have a “history” she wants to tell everyone about. These two know that they are each other’s only allies, and if they want to hang around, they better get some new members to their little gang. I don’t think Danielle and Rachel are going to fall for it, though. They’re just both too damn fun.